Meet the South Coast’s ‘golden’ boy

2016-10-27 06:00
James Venter in the match against Western Province last week.                 PHOTO: Leon Niemand

James Venter in the match against Western Province last week. PHOTO: Leon Niemand

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THE lower South Coast is never short of talent and Umtentweni’s James Venter (20), who plays for the Golden Lions U21 team, is one.

The Golden Lions were crowned provincial champions in the U19 and U21 categories over the weekend at the Currie Cup.

“We were gold-medal winners and beat Western Province 38-34 in a very tough match,” said Venter.

“It was something special. It’s been a very long, intense and tolling season … the feeling of winning is indescribable,” he added.

When the number 6 flank is not playing rugby, you will find him at the University of Johannesburg where he is a full-time second-year law student.

Playing rugby as a career has always been a dream for Venter, even before he became first team, rugby captain in Grade 7 at Izothsa Primary.

He then went on to Sheppie High and took over as vice-captain of the U14 A team, U15 A team and captain of U16A, which was an unbeaten team.

“Playing professional rugby has always been my dream since I can remember. At the time in high school the Lions were a union aiming at growing and developing rugby players. I’ve certainly never looked back,” he said.

Venter was selected for U16 Grant Khomo trials at Woodburn Stadium in Pietermaritzburg and made it through to the last round.

Glenwood High then offered him a bursary where he started schooling towards the end of Grade 10.

“I played for the first team in my matric year and was chosen to play for Craven Week,” he said.

Despite the training, matches and sports schedules, Venter matriculated with three distinctions.

He was then contracted by the Golden Lions and played starting 6 for the U19 Golden Lions side during 2015.

By the end of 2015 he won the prestigious U19 Player of the Year Award.

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